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Archive for Kidney Diet

October 20, 2015

Eating Gluten-free on a Kidney Diet

By DaVita dietitian guest blogger Kristin MacDonald, MS, RD, LDN

AmarantoFollowing a kidney-friendly diet can be a challenge. When a patient already has other diet restrictions it can be even harder to find healthy and tasty foods. One type of diet restriction that some patients may have is the need to eat gluten-free.

What is gluten?

Gluten is a protein found in wheat and some other grains, such as barley and rye. Gluten is also found in malt.

What is a gluten-free diet?

Someone following a gluten-free diet excludes and avoids all potential sources of the protein gluten.

Who needs to eat gluten-free? Read more…

November 19, 2014

Diabetes and Dietary Patterns

November is American Diabetes Month in recognition of almost 30 million Americans with diabetes and 86 million with prediabetes.  Over the years many diet combinations have been prescribed to help manage blood glucose and fats. The current focus, instead specific nutrients like carbohydrate or fat, is on dietary patterns. This is a more holistic and practical approach that people with diabetes and prediabetes can better understand and embrace.

Dietary patterns consider whole foods and whole meals, not single nutrients. Read more…

September 1, 2014

Diabetes and Kidney Diet Conversation

Google+ Event image- RESIZE

Do you have diabetes and kidney disease? Are you confused about how to combine the eating guidelines for both diets? So are many others! You are invited to join me along with DaVita dietitians Susan and Megan for a Google+ Hangout “Kidney Diet Tips Diabetes Edition”.  Sign up and join the diabetes and kidney diet conversation today. You can send your questions to us prior to the event and we will answer as many as possible at the event.

June 24, 2014

Kidney Diet Tips Live Conversation at Google+ Hangout on Air

KDT Twitter ImageLet’s talk!

You are invited to join me for a live Kidney Diet Tips conversation on Tuesday, July 1st at 5 pm PT/ 6 pm MT/7 pm CT/ 8 pm ET. @DaVita Kidney Care is hosting a Google+ Hangout on Air sharing tips for managing the kidney diet. The panel will feature myself and another renal dietitian and two dialysis patients. We will answer kidney diet questions from viewers, so come prepared with your questions. RSVP to join the Hangout: http://bit.ly/KidneyDietTipsSummer

January 23, 2014

Online tools for the kidney diet

Knowing what to eat on a kidney diet can be complicated, so it’s good to know you can go online for helpful tools and education. DaVita.com offers education about kidney disease, dialysis treatments as well as an entire section on the chronic kidney diet, including hundreds of kidney-friendly recipes. Whether you’re pre-dialysis, on hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis (PD), you’ll find articles to help explain the kidney diet for where you are and healthy recipes that you can enjoy.

Welcome to DaVita Diet HelperBesides educational articles, DaVita.com offers the DaVita Diet Helper to help you plan your meals and keep track of your kidney diet. This invaluable tool was recently  updated with new features and functions. If you haven’t used DaVita Diet Helper recently, sign in on your computer, tablet or smart phone and check out the new look. Use it to plan meals, download DaVita suggested menus, create your own recipes and meals, create your own database of favorite foods, and track your daily food intake to see how close you are to your goals for potassium, phosphorus, sodium and protein.  Now you can access all the DaVita.com recipes directly in DaVita Diet Helper to easily build meals around your favorite recipes. Over the next several months I’ll show you these new features and how to use DaVita Diet Helper on the Kidney Diet Tips blog. Read more…

June 28, 2013

Herbs and Your Kidneys—Beyond Seasoning Your Food

Supplements made from herbs promise to prevent or cure many ailments, including kidney disease. Is there any truth to it? Or are people with chronic kidney disease (CKD) falling victim to the herbal products industry who makes money from unproven promises? When you run across claims a product will cure or slow kidney disease there are a few things to remember. Herbal supplements are not regulated by the FDA. They fall into the category of dietary supplements and require no testing. This means consumers may be the test group—and may be at risk since there is no required safety or effectiveness testing or regulation of herbal products.

Several postings on herbal products and kidney disease were of interest to me this week. Check out these resources, especially if you’re taking herbal supplements. Read more…

May 16, 2013

Kidney Diet Tips: Our Ever-Changing Food Supply

Have you noticed the changes occurring in our foods? I am amazed every time I walk through the grocery store. A few examples are:

Cool Whip® is no longer non-dairy; it now includes skim milk and light cream.

Cottage cheese, half and half and milk with expiration dates 1-2 months ahead.

Sugar and low calorie sweeteners are blended together.

Packaged gelatin and pudding mix and some canned or bottled sodas, lemonade and teas now contain phosphate additives.

Fresh pork and chicken may be injected with sodium-phosphate solution to maintain the fresh appearance while waiting for purchase.

Heat and eat foods extend beyond the grocery store deli section, and unfortunately, often provide half or more of the daily sodium target .

Can you think of other examples?  Read more…

October 18, 2012

Vegetarian Diets for Chronic Kidney Disease

 World Vegetarian Day (Oct 1), Vegetarian Awareness Month throughout October, and Meatless Mondays are among some of the activities drawing more attention to vegetarian eating.  What used to be a strange way of eating to the majority of Americans is now becoming popular and embraced by those seeking to improve health, save animals and protect the environment.

If you have chronic kidney disease (CKD) a vegetarian diet may help  protect your kidneys and delay progression to end stage kidney disease (ESRD).

Benefits of vegetarian diets include:

  • Lower protein intake, resulting in less kidney stress and decreased protein waste build-up 
  • Lower blood pressure, which reduces pressure in the kidneys
  • Decreased cholesterol, especially LDL, the cholesterol that contributes to artery narrowing, including the renal arteries
  • Better heart health with less risk of plaque build-up
  • Lower cancer risk related to less saturated fat and eating more grains, fruits and vegetables
  • Lower food costs (have you seen the price of steak or roast lately?)

If you decide to try a vegetarian eating plan but are unsure where to start, try adding meatless meals several times a week. Read articles such as The Vegetarian Diet and Chronic Kidney Disease written for DaVita.com by DaVita renal dietitian Chhaya Patel or Soy Foods: Vegetarian Options for a Kidney Diet. Check out resources such as Vegetarian Diets in Chronic Kidney Disease  from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Vegetaian Practice Group.

Find recipes online, purchase a vegetarian cookbook (for quick and easy recipes try Meatless Meals for Working People ), or subscribe to a vegetarian magazine such as my favorite, Vegetarian Times.  Many recipes can be modified for a kidney diet. There are a few vegetarian books specific for kidney disease such as The Vegetarian Diet for Kidney Disease  by Joan Brookhyser Hogan, RD.

Many of these resources provide information on protein, potassium, phosphorus and sodium–all concerns for a kidney diet. Even for people on dialysis it is possible to incorporate meatless meals or even a vegetarian diet with guidance from your renal dietitian.

In addition to saving kidney function,  you may find that a vegetarian diet also helps with your energy level– and that improves your quality of life!

Kidney diet resources from DaVita.com



October 2, 2012

Dietitian’s best kidney diet tips


Several weeks ago I was traveling to a meeting in North Carolina with two other DaVita dietitians. Our conversation led to discussion about what is helpful to patients following a kidney diet. Some people seem to embrace changes and incorporate the diet easier than others, and some kidney patients have long time struggles with adapting to new ways of eating.

Of all diets–weight loss, low cholesterol, gluten-free, etc., we know kidney diets are the most challenging. Most of us do not think about minerals in food, and putting foods into categories of what to limit or avoid and what to eat becomes mind-boggling.



I asked my colleagues to share their best tips and advice on adjusting to and following a kidney diet. Here are their best 10 tips:

  1. Change your mindset so the diet is not so overwhelming. Instead of looking at the restrictions, realize that almost any food can be worked in. Learn about the amount and frequency and how it impacts you.
  2. Focus on the issues or problem areas and do not try to change everything at once. For example, if your appetite is not so great and your protein level is too low, give more attention to this rather than all the other diet components.
  3. Retrain your habits. Identify items that need to be changed and work on making new habits. For example, if you usually order the sausage biscuit with cheese for a fast food breakfast, replace it with an egg on English muffin.
  4. Realize that eating is a habit. Once those habits are in place we usually don’t make decisions–we act out of habit. Examples of new habits include roasting a turkey breast for sandwiches instead of  ham; stocking beverages that are phosphate free so you are not tempted by those with phosphate additives; keeping apples or berries on hand instead of higher potssium banana or canteloupe.
  5. Ask what you get instead of what your give up. For example, your kidney diet may require more home cooking which can be more nourishing and give you more control over what goes into your body.
  6. Eat your meals and snacks slower to avoid overeating that adds extra potassium, phosphorus or sodium. Portion control can lead to better sodium, fluid or phosphorus control.
  7. Be an optimist and focus on the positive. For example if you try foods you never ate before, fix a new recipe, or discover low sodium seasonings you like, you are positively expanding your food choices.
  8. Eat to your dose. Whether it’s the amount of phosphorus to match what your phosphate binders can bind, or the amount of carbohydrate to match your insulin or other diabetes medication, think about how the foods your choose and amounts you eat work together to keep the balance.
  9. Savor small amounts of foods that are limited by eating them with mindfulness, thinking about the flavors and enjoying the taste and texture.
  10. Talk to others–patients, your dietitian and other healthcare team members. Find out what works, what keeps them motivated and what are their personal best kidney diet tips.

Do you have kidney diet tips you would like to share? Add your comments. It may make a positive difference for someone else!

 Kidney diet resources from DaVita.com


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